Participatory Budgeting (PB) was first introduced in the 1980's in Porto Alegre, Brazil. It was introduced as a method to encourage increased levels of community participation and to direct resources to communities where it was most needed. It is now recognised internationally as a way for communities to have a say in how public money is spent.
The Scottish Government support PB as a tool for community engagement and empowerment. This aligns with the ambitions of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act (2015) and West Dunbartonshire’s Community Empowerment Strategy to devolve increased levels of decision making to local communities.
Local authorities across Scotland have a target to allocate 1% of annual budgets by PB processes. In West Dunbartonshire local people already engage in a variety of different ways to influence and direct resources. Examples include, through tenant participation or Community Budgeting. The PB Mainstreaming approach looks to strengthen and expand such opportunities.
Your Community : Your Choice is West Dunbartonshire’s newest approach to participatory budgeting, an initiative that gives local people a direct say in how a portion of our budget is spent.
Initially, the Communities Team will be working alongside colleagues in Greenspace & the Health & Social Care Partnership (HSCP) to deliver a pilot approach to PB Mainstreaming which will allow residents to influence a portion of a defined budget.
The pilot project is still in development but will focus on the findings of a survey carried out by the Health and Social Care Partnership earlier this year. The survey was based on the challenges people faced through the pandemic. As part of the survey feedback respondents noted that in the majority of cases levels of physical activity had declined. Respondents ranked five things they felt were the most important to help people maintain or increase their activity levels.
The pilot seeks to address the two highest ranking ideas:
The closing date is 28 February 2022.
The outcome of the pilot will be monitored and should the approach prove successful the ambition will be to extend this participative approach to other communities across West Dunbartonshire.
We are also looking for volunteers who would like to be involved in designing this process, if you are interested please contact YourCommunity@west-dunbarton.gov.uk and a member of the team will be in touch.